Over the past decade, the term “co-parenting” has become a normal phase when it comes to how to raise children after the parents have separated. This newer term of a way to raise children has become more and more popular, and it has many benefits for all involved.
Co-parenting is where the parents maintain an open dialogue for the benefit of the child or children. This is an effective option for establishing a new home life for the child. It can be challenging at first to establish a system, but thinking of it as a partnership will benefit all involved. Co-parenting is full of adjustments and emotional times.
Ultimately, the goal of any parenting plan should be to do what is best for the children.
When co-parenting is done well and properly, it can provide advantages for the parents and the children. Viewing co-parenting as a partnership is one great and effective way to raise children in a happy and healthy environment.
Effective co-parenting relationships can help positively impact children’s overall development. Here are tips to help not only build the partnership but also maintain it:
This can be about anything that the parents deem fit. Having the agreements finalized in writing is also beneficial for everyone. We’re all humans, we forget and make mistakes. By having items pertaining to the child, you have a gut check that helps all involved.
Below are a few examples of agreements to consider:
- Discuss matters with each other before the child.
- Talk through any requests or changes as early as you can to ensure both parents agree. Examples of this include vacation or holiday plans, activities (sports, dance, etc.), and major events that would occur during the other parents’ dedicated time.
- Agree to discuss matters with each other and let the children know you will do so. Instead of saying “I say you can, but ask your mom/dad,” say “I’ll talk to your mom/dad, and we will let you know.”
- Discuss the children’s dietary needs and preferences. Kids go through different phases. What they like one week might be something that they push away the next. Help set the other parent up for success by keeping them updated on the children’s latest likes and dislikes.
Refrain from Smack Talk
This can be easier said than done, but avoid throwing the other parent under the bus.
Avoid saying negative or disparaging things to or in front of your children about the other parent. It can lead to trust issues for the child with both parents. It can also lead to negative feelings for the child towards one or both parents.
Have Regular Check-Ins
Check-ins can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever works best for the parents. These can be in person, via email, or via text–find what works best, and utilize it.
Maintain Consistent Routines
Whether the children are with you or the other parent–ensure they maintain a consistent routine. This includes bedtime, dinner, activities, homework time, etc.
Set the same expectations on homework, household chores, screen/tv time, or anything else that’s considered a treat/or a reward.
When parents are on the same team, it sets the child up for happiness and success. The children should see that they are protected and safe and that the parents have things under control. It requires emotional investment and effort to build and maintain.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to show the children that both parents are a partnership and a united front when it comes to their well-being. Therapy can help you put your best self forward for your children.